This could be the night Pittsboro residents remember for decades: The Board of Commissioners plan to vote tonight on the controversial 7,000-acre Chatham Park development that would forever change the culture, economy and way of life in the small town.
Tim Smith of Preston Development Co. and Jim Goodnight, CEO of SAS, one of the world's leading tech companies, have spent the last year trying to convince town residents and officials that Chatham Park, which will include 22,000 residences and 22 million square feet of office space, is good for Pittsboro. The developers envision it as a sequel to Research Triangle Park.
Opponents of the plan, including citizens' group Pittsboro Matters, argue that Chatham Park would abut the Haw River and lie within the Jordan Lake watershed, which is already the site of intensive development that could threaten the quality of the reservoir. It supplies water to Cary, Apex, Morrisville, RTP South and northern Chatham County. Other cities in the Triangle, such as Durham, also can withdraw water from the lake in emergencies. Parts of the lake are already classified as "impaired" because of pollution.
The northeastern edge of the development would sit directly across the Haw River from Bynum, a historic cotton mill town.
The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the historic courthouse downtown. Opponents of the project will hold a rally at 6 p.m.
See previous coverage of Chatham Park:
"Chatham Park: Jumping the shark?"
"At 7,000 acres, Chatham Park would change the face of the small town of Pittsboro"
"Consultant critiques Chatham Park's lack of vision"
"Pittsboro commissioners reviewing Chatham Park for rezoning"